365 Reasons to Love Comics #126
This comics character captured the essence of “Snakes on a Plane” wayyy before that movie was ever conceived. What do I mean? Click on, my friends!
126. Elf with a Gun
The “Elf with a Gun” concept is the brainchild of Steve Gerber, so you know right away that it must be both weird and cool.
The Elf first appeared during Gerber’s Defenders run. His gimmick was that he was an elf, and he had a gun, and he shot random people. His purpose was never explained– by Gerber, anyway. Later writers brought up this whole convoluted mess involving other elves and magic and Tribunals and Time Agencies and all this stuff. The original, “Melf,” was killed by getting hit with a truck. Since the Defenders series wrapped up, the Elf– or an Elf– has had a few cameos. One of ‘em even faced off against KISS in a Marvel Super Special.
Gerber’s original intention, however, was for the Elf to not make any sense at all. In fact, he was completely random. I’ve heard such things that he was tossed in when the plot was dragging, or when Sal Buscema wanted to draw something else. However, the Marvel Appendix explains it the best, I think:
“In interviews, Gerber would reveal that the Elf was nothing more than a backhanded metaphor for the chaotic and inexplicable nature of everyday existence, the “beast in the jungle” that you can spend a lifetime planning for but which still comes as a surprise or maybe never comes at all.”
I find it extremely amusing that Elf with a Gun was really a Henry James reference all along.
When it comes right down to it, the Elf with a Gun follows the same principle as Snakes on a Plane– the concept’s awesomeness is inherent in its name. I mean, it’s a sarcastic Elf. And he has a gun. Brilliant!
Really, that’s all I’ve got. There’s buckets of more info at that Marvel Appendix entry, though, so check that out.